Rogue River

Rockford, Michigan 49351

Rogue River

Rogue River Professional Review and Guide

"A quiet western Michigan river easily accessible to Grand Rapids–area paddlers. The Rogue River is a peaceful, unassuming stream that is ideally suited for an easy morning or afternoon paddle. Its upper reaches are too shallow and narrow for canoeing or kayaking. But after passing by Sparta, the river picks up sufficient volume from various tributaries to coalesce into a scenic and undemanding float that can be tackled by novice paddlers.

This lower section of the Rogue (about 21 miles) is generally divided into two distinct destinations by two dams (Rockford and Childsdale) that sit midway down its length. The river above these dams is quiet and murky, while the water below Childsdale Dam moves at a livelier—but still relatively undemanding—clip."

Rogue River Reviews

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The lower Rogue (below the dam in Rockford) is a fun paddle. Late summer, it runs very shallow and takes some maneuvering not to get stuck on the rocks. Spring and anytime after a heavy rain is the best time to paddle the river. Since it is dam controlled, flash flood waters are released and the river levels will shoot up for about a 24 hr period making the river more fun. I've run the river at flood level ( 8ft according to the USGS) and it's a riot. I've been running this river for over 20 years and it's still a fun time close to home. There are several exit spots depending on the length of trip you want so the journey can last anywhere from 1-4 hours if you take it all the way to the Grand River. The upper Rogue is calm and slow. You can just as easily paddle up-stream as you can down-stream. So if you want a slow paddle that you can finish where you start, then the upper is the one for you.
We took about a 4 hour trip down the Rogue, which was a leisurely paddling rate and probably an hour of stops. All in all a good trip, especially considering the proximity to Grand Rapids. It's not a very wide river at most points, so we did encounter snags (lots of fallen trees that span the whole river) with no good way through. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a fun canoe trip near GR.
Kayak this river at least once a month in the summer. The stretch above the dam is usually calm and relaxing. If you want an adventure for the Grand Rapids area try below the dam to the Grand River while the water is at least 4.5 feet high according to the usgs.
Love this river...banks are always changing ..very interesting, lots of turns!

Rogue River Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Skill Level
4 - 6 hours
Class I
Best May to October
USGS Sparta, Cedar Springs SW, Cedar Springs, Rockford
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018